Monique Bucheger- Author Interview

I'm excited to welcome Monique Bucheger, author of 
The Secret Sisters Club to my blog today.
It's a lot of fun to interview authors. We'll get right down to business. 
How do you come up with the characters personalities? So far, all of my main characters are pretty strong-willed individuals who dictate their own personalities, sometimes literally. One time, it was suggested that Ginnie was wrong in a scene with her twin brother, Toran, and that she should back down. I tried to write that scene three different times with Ginnie giving in and she refused to budge. The beauty of that was I discovered her true motivation and was able to clarify her arc, all because she wouldn’t allow me to reprogram her on a whim. When I discovered WHY she wouldn’t budge, it made the scene better.

Because Ginnie is impulsive and strong-willed, she has a twin brother who is a quiet observer of the world around them, who—on occasion— steps in to save her from herself. They really are best friends, though completely opposite. Because Tillie is a shy, timid girl, Ginnie has been her self-appointed protector from the day they met. Ginnie is very loyal to friends and family. As the series progresses though, Tillie realizes she has more power to her own happiness than she thought, and Tillie is learning to lean on her inner strength instead of Ginnie’s.

Do your friends or enemies ever find themselves in your books? I hope I don’t have any enemies, but my friends and family have shown up every now and again. (always in a favorable light—I really don’t want to recruit enemies.)
Are you for or against books being made into movies?
I am for books being made into movies because quite simply, some books need to be shared and movies are a great venue in which to do that. I can’t imagine ever NOT being a reader, but I have children who did not inherit the bookworm gene and I think that some stories need to be told, however that looks.

I do think that most of the time books are better than movies simply because a reader personalizes the story to their own needs and values and there is something more personal and intrinsic about spending several hours in a world you create with the author’s guidance in your mind that can’t be duplicated by someone else’s imagination on a movie screen. That being said, some classic movies are ‘classic’ simply because someone was able to transform their experience with a book in a meaningful way for the masses to enjoy. And of course, some special effects are so awesome that movies are the best venue to truly enjoy them.

What made you decide to write in this genre? 
Since Ginnie is 12, her age dictates the main genre, in this case Middle Grade. I think she’s really on the cusp of high middle grade and lower young adult. As far as being a ‘slice of life’ family drama versus fantasy or historical fiction or other subcategories, I wrote the story and the story dictated the label.

I love fantasy stories as well as the next person, but so far, I haven’t felt inclined to write one. I think that will change as I am mulling a time traveling story, but for the moment I’m sticking with 2 pieces of advice I hear a lot: 1) Write the story only you can write and 2) Write the story you want to read.

As more devastating conditions such as Hurricane Sandy and school shootings and such happen, I think it is important to have books with characters who have strong moral compasses and can draw on inner strength to help young readers realize they are not as powerless as they might feel. Whatever the genre, that is an important message, one you embraced in Created. I like books where ordinary people do extraordinary things.

Any other books in the works?
Yes, I just finished the novella to introduce my YA series: Ryding Through Troubled Waters. Here is my quick pitch:
When his parents return from their second honeymoon in matching mahogany caskets, nineteen year-old Cale Ryder not only inherits the family ranch, but his three teenage brothers and kid sister, Brandi, as well. Thrust onto the fast track to fatherhood, Cale doesn’t have time for a lot of nonsense and quickly lets everyone know there’s only room for one alpha dog in the fight to keep the family together. While battling a busybody aunt, child protective services, and the rigors of ranch living to provide for his siblings, he tries not to wonder what life would be like if he could do what he wanted, instead of what everyone else needs. 

Goals for future projects?
Book 1 of my Ryder series is a third finished and Book 2 is mostly complete. My fourth Ginnie book will have Cale’s kid sister, Brandi (now 13), and Ginnie be frenemies. Well, that’s the plan. Since Ginnie and Brandi are very opinionated people, I probably shouldn’t set anything in stone … at least until I’ve written it. J See the above answer to characters’ personalities. J Brandi is even more tenacious than Ginnie, so I am imagining some intense scenes.

Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
I keep meaning to write a book that has been fully plotted before I start, but haven’t managed to do that yet. I used to be a complete pantser, but have come to realize the benefits of a general outline, at least part of one, here and there. J

What is your favorite Quote? You can’t out give God … but it doesn’t hurt to try. J

What do you do in your free time? Free time? J What is that? I have 12 kids and I’m an author. That pretty much covers my whole day. J

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is....Bridge to Terabithia

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
When my characters hijack my story and make it better. In my latest book, SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN, sweet, timid Tillie morphed into “Super Tillie” and took over a few scenes and made them so much better. It’s always interesting to see what your characters will come up with when they are allowed to be themselves.J

What makes your novel standout from the crowd?
It is a slice of life family drama with heart. Even though fantasy has a huge draw, I think there is still a place for an up-lifting story dealing with real-life in a meaningful way.

Now, check out her fun books!

THE SECRET SISTERS CLUB: A Ginnie West Adventure (BOOK 1)


Twelve-year-old BFF’s Ginnie and Tillie, want to be sisters. Ginnie's widowed dad plus Tillie's divorced mom could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie form a secret club and come up with the perfect mission to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters’.

Before long, Tillie seems happier about gaining a dad than a sister. Ginnie suspects that Tillie has turned ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ into a scam called ‘Operation Steal My Dad.’  Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her real mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and Dad doesn’t talk about.

When Dad discovers she has the journals, he takes them away. Ginnie needs to figure out what the big mystery is before her relationship with her father and her best friend are ruined forever.

If you like farms, friends, horses, and secrets, you’ll love: Trouble Blows West: A Ginnie West Adventure.  So saddle up and be ready to ride with Ginnie as she explores the true meaning of friendship.
Debbie Shakespeare Smith, middle-grade author of The House of Chicken

TROUBLE BLOWS WEST: A Ginnie West Adventure (BOOK 2)


Putting her body in motion before her brain is in gear creates a mountain of problems for 12 year-old Ginnie West. She is certain that defending her twin brother, Toran, from the biggest bully in sixth grade was the right thing to do. But Ginnie couldn’t be more wrong.

She quickly figures out that Toran doesn’t appreciate being rescued by a girl any better than Charlie likes being knocked down by one. When Charlie seeks revenge on Ginnie, Toran sets aside his anger and helps her plot a playback prank at Charlie’s house.

Sadly, Ginnie learns that Charlie has a reason for being a bully when she sees his dad drop him to the floor like a ragdoll with one awful blow to the chest. Realizing he's a boy in big trouble, Ginnie switches gears and decides to be his ally, even if he won’t let her be his friend.

I loved this book! I didn’t know a book without zombies could be good! 15 yr-old Amanda

SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN: A Ginnie West Adventure: (BOOK 3)


Twelve year-old Ginnie and her BFF, Tillie, schemed to get Ginnie’s widowed dad to fall in love with Tillie’s divorced mom. It worked. But before they could become ‘for real’ sisters, Ginnie stumbled across her dead mom’s journals. Which was totally awesome sauce… until her dad took them away and won’t tell her why. Now all their plans are starting to unravel.

If that’s not bad enough, Ginnie’s favorite uncle drops the mother of all bombshells and leaves her in a maze of uncertainty. While her head is still spinning from that news,  a blast from her late mother’s past shows up and makes Tillie goes nutburgers. Ginnie realizes her best friend has her own agenda and Tillie’s plans to merge their families may not be so innocent.
SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN is a contemporary MG novel that follows Ginnie West as she tries to make sense of one too many curve balls tossed her way in the most pivotal summer of her life. 

Would you like an autographed, personalized copy? Visit Monique's page here to order:

You can find Monique in all these places:

Don't her books sound awesome? Go get 'em at the links below
  The Secret Sisters Club: A Ginnie West Adventure